40

Nursing Watson Bras and My Post-Natal Body

watson nursing bra green stripes 2

I never really thought that I would get into sewing bras. I’ve always been fairly small busted and quite content to wear RTW foam cup bras that make my body look a little closer to hourglass than its true pear shape. I’ve loved seeing all the gorgeous bras that sewists have made, but never felt the inspiration strike to make my own. I found a RTW brand that fits me well, bought half a dozen of the same bra, and replace them when they start to wear out. Except for right now I’m not small busted and I’m not fitting the RTW I’ve tried and I’m not stoked on the nursing bras that I’ve found. So what’s a sewist to do? Start sewing bras, of course!

watson nursing bra green stripes back

The combination of nursing and gaining weight from pregnancy has brought my once ~32B’s up to ~34D’s. Whereas  before, I could go without a bra with few complaints, the weight of these things is driving me crazy and I really need something supportive. (I don’t know how very full-busted women aren’t driven crazy by these things! They’re annoying and they get in the way!) I was going nuts trying to find RTW nursing bras that fit well, so I decided that now was the time to start sewing my own. I blame Jodi for having put the idea in my head because if it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have considered that sewing nursing bras was possible, and then Monserratt cemented the idea with all of her recent nursing bras! Hooray for other sewing bloggers being such awesome sources of inspiration!

watson nursing bra green stripes underwear set 2

I started with the Watson Bra – a basic bra designed for knits and without an underwire – as simple as I could get. I figured that since I hadn’t sewn a bra before and since I only get to sew in 10 minute stretches these days (seriously, my munchkin never naps!) and since my cup size fluctuates depending upon how recently I’ve nursed, it was a good place to start. For my first bra, I used a jersey that I salvaged from a maternity top I only wore once and hated the pattern but loved the fabric (which was from Minerva Crafts but seems to be sold out now).

watson nursing bra green stripes

I did make a couple of changes to the pattern. The biggest was to add nursing clips and a strap inside the bra to hold it in place when unclipped. I also lined the whole bra since I wanted a bit more support (and pretty insides) and the jersey I used is quite stretchy. I was actually quite surprised by how easy it was to sew the bra. It felt just like sewing a swimsuit and I’ve sewn a lot of swimsuits. I’d say that if you’ve sewn a swimsuit you’ll have no problem sewing a bra and vice versa – nice to know that skills transfer!

watson nursing bra green stripes underwear set

Since I had enough fabric I could salvage, I cut a couple pairs of panties (knickers, if you will) to match my green bra. I’ve never really been one for matching bra and underwear sets (I guess since I’ve always been too broke or too frugal to buy them) but I’m enamored. I’m going to have to do this again.

watson nursing bra longline white 2

My green bra was such a success that I immediately sewed myself a second. This time I used the longline version of the pattern. I used a lightweight stretch French terry cloth (that I have absolutely no idea why it was in my scrap bin because I have no recollection of having purchased or used it before) and a jersey for the lining. I made the same modifications as my green bra and also changed the straps so they are wide over the shoulder since the normal skinny straps on my green bra cut into my shoulders by the end of the day.

watson nursing bra longline white 3

I was a little disappointed when I finished the white bra since I had thought the longline would make it retro and sexy but instead it felt a bit, well, matronly. It has turned out to be very practical as I can wear it under slightly sheer or otherwise revealing tops (like a couple of my summer sewing flops) and it reads kinda like a camisole.

watson nursing bra longline white

Being comfortable in my post-natal body has been a challenge for me, as I’m sure it is for many women. My body is such a different size and shape than I’m used to and I have so little clothing that fits, much less flatters, so I can’t even play dress-up to feel good. Surprisingly (to me), sewing these bras and especially taking photos of myself in them, makes me feel sexy for just about the first time since having a baby. And that’s pretty awesome. One more great thing about sewing!

Part of the reason I’m sharing these rather revealing photos is to take a stand with myself and remind myself that my body is just as sexy as it was before I had a baby, it’s just different. Another part of the reason is that, as a community of women, I don’t think we really share or talk about our post-partum bodies (Stephanie wrote the only post I can think of about it.). I know that many of us have had children but it seems that so few of us talk about or share what it does to our bodies. We apologize for our no-longer-flat stomachs, we make excuses for why we will no longer wear a bikini, we wish our stretch marks would go away. What we don’t do is celebrate. A woman’s body has to do some crazy amazing things to grow a baby and if it emerges with some battle scars, those changes should be celebrated for they helped grow a human. I hope that by showing I have a thicker waist, a flatter butt, stretch marks on my breasts, stomach, and sides, that I am different but no worse, that I can do a little bit to help other women (along with myself) stand proud at what our bodies look like.

Comments 40

    1. Post
      Author
  1. Thanks for sharing! I honestly can’t remember if I ever got around to writing about this stuff…babies + full time job kept me pretty busy :p I do know that I meant to make Watson nursing bras, but never found the time…and now my second baby is 8 months old, and I’m not nursing enough during the day to justify the clip-off bras anymore!

    I definitely think about my post-partum body a lot in terms of what I wear/sew though! Belly squish presents myriad fit issues, illustrated by this instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHNXECJjMea/?taken-by=dangerouslyalice

    1. Post
      Author
  2. These look great! I’ve never sewn bras before, but I might have to. I wore a 34DD before I got pregnant, and now they’re about a 36G! It’s true, they are frustrating. :-( At that size, it’s tough to find anything under $60, and I only have one that actually feels supportive. You’ve inspired me!

    1. Post
      Author
  3. Your bras are amazing, but your sharing of your postpartum feeling & figure are just wonderful. Thank you, and cheers!

  4. You look fantastic, and as a dd-cup the longline is so much more supportive. Might have to colour block one for myself…

  5. I think its å very cool idea to sew your own nursing bras. I wish Iwould have thought about that when I was nursing my children. They look great on you.
    And I absolutely think that you are right about how we women don’t celebrate our post-baby bodies enough. You are beautiful and sexy, and we all are. You are also brave for writing this blog post. So thank you.

  6. Great sewing and a great post! Oh, and big boobs ARE annoying… they get in the way when I lie on my side, and I have to wedge a pillow between them to hold the top one up and get them out of the way of my arms! UGH!

    1. Post
      Author
  7. (HUGS) love these!! I’m inspired to try Watson again. If it can work for a nursing mom, I can probably make it work for me.
    You’re really inspirational. I admire how open and honest you are.

  8. Great post! I think it’s wonderful that you’re sharing these photos-it’s so important to normalize and embrace our post baby bodies. My last child just self weaned this summer so I’m on the other end having nothing fit again. And boy am I glad to be back to my smaller size (back down to my 34B from 36E)! You look amazing! Really lovely bras too!

  9. You look great and I love the idea of a watson for a cami under shear blouses. I am just getting into bra making and am starting with the marlborough as my post two baby boobs appreciate an underwire.

    As for body issues after baby I don’t think that I am much help. It’s hard. Every time I think I am good with the way I look and how my body has changed, I find myself getting angry because my husbands body shows no battle wounds from our babies. Or I hear of an older man leaving the mother of his children for a young woman and I get so angry at the hypocracy and unfairness of the pressure put on women in this society. Can you tell i struggle with this? Way to be open and challenge the perception. It’s an important dialogue.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for the compliments. I would also like to experiment with an underwire as I find I would like that support for the first time.

      Thanks also for sharing your struggles about a changed body. I agree that it is a constant struggle and making peace in one moment is no guarantee of feeling peaceful in another. I think a big part of tackling any problem is to acknowledge it, so you’re doing something hard and great by putting words to the sources of your frustrations and struggles.

  10. You look so gorgeous! I love the lines of the second bra, I’ve never tried one like that. I think I will be sewing bras post-weaning, because my chest is slowly shrinking into another completely new shape. It’s crazy how the human body can change so drastically! I hope other sewists join in sharing their post-baby bodies, too :) I’m all about the celebration – even if it is just the two of us, haha!

    1. Post
      Author
  11. Great bras. I have made the Watson prenatal but not postpartum. I really should as I need more nursing bras and have all the supplies. Hard to find the time though as my daughter doesn’t nap on her own yet. I also hated the wrap top but I made a few of the cropped version of that pattern as a sweater and loved it. Big boobs…the worst. I was 34 DD before baby..now I don’t even know as I mostly wear giant sports bras I’ve added nursing clips to. Thank you for celebrating your postpartum body. You look beautiful and that body has done some amazing work. I am working on embracing my changing body as well as dressing it. Battle scars and all. My daughter literally ripped off a mole on my chest last week so the changes continue but I’ve never felt prouder of what my body can do.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks so much for sharing your very similar experiences. I totally understand about how hard it is to find the time to sew. Will your daughter nap in a sling or wrap on you? I found I could stand at my cutting table and at least cut fabric while Evie napped in a sling. Her naps are in the crib but stupidly short right now, but I found that bra sewing was actually quite do-able as there were many little steps that could be done in 5 or 10 minute increments.

  12. I have never sewn a bra or swimsuit, but you have me intrigued. Do you know of any good regular bra patterns that I should look at?

    1. Post
      Author
  13. What a great post Erin! You look wonderful in these photos! I wish I had been able to think as wisely after my babies. It has taken me years and years to start liking my body again. Now, the youngest of my 4 children is 9 years old and I finally feel at home in my body (most of the time).

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks! I’m sorry that it took you so long to start to like your body again but I’m so glad to hear that you feel home in it now. I think “most of the time” is about all one could ask for!

  14. I love this post. You’re so real and beautiful. The bras are great. And speaking as a formerly large busted woman (I had a reduction 5 years ago), they are irritating and get in the way, but also most large-busted women have had them for so long that we don’t remember what it was like to not have them. They’re just a way of life. I love my smaller breasts now – the reduction was the best decision ever.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for sharing. I’m glad that your reduction was a good choice for you. What you say about large busted women being so used to them that they don’t remember what it was like not to have them makes a lot of sense, and is probably true for all sorts of different body individualities.

  15. You think your body changed now? I’m 52 so just wait. I’d give anything to have your flat stomach and trim hips red marks and all. That said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and my hubs thinks I’m the sexiest thing around (or so he tells me so I choose to truly believe him because he’s the only one besides me that matters). Want to know a secret? ‘Men don’t see what we see.’ It’s true! Isn’t that fabulous?? It’s a gift from God that most women truly don’t appreciate. You are on the right track with your mindset – you (we) ARE beautiful no matter how we are shaped. Never ever compare yourself to another. You are special just how you are and right now, you might be battle worn (birthing babies will do that) but you are a fierce machine to now not only recover from the event itself, but continue to nurture your new little person that you brought into the world. I think you look amazing. Those red marks will fade to invisible and you’ll be stronger for them. Oh, and the new bras are pretty amazing too. :)

    1. Post
      Author

      That’s wonderful that you have a husband to remind you how wonderfully sexy you are. It’s a great reminder that “Men don’t see what we see” – and it’s very true for me too. My husband also tells me how sexy I am and, when it comes down to it, he’s the only person I need to look sexy for!

  16. I remember standing in front of the mirror, about a month after I gave birth to my daughter, just waiting for the usual quiet dissatisfactions to creep over me, and, instead …. peace. I simply could not find it in me to be anything other than overwhelmingly impressed by my body that had grown, birthed and nourished this tiny precious life. Amazing! And kudos on the nursing bras, I’ve been itching to try to make some for all of my (maaany) pregnant friends, and yours are exactly what I would have reached for when I was breastfeeding.

    1. Post
      Author

      That’s lovely. Thanks for sharing. I love how you say that couldn’t “be anything other than overwhelmingly impressed” with your body. That’s a great sentiment and exactly what I’m trying for.

  17. Thank you for such an inspiring post – particularly the last couple of paragraphs. I have had three pregnancies and have two little boys (6 years old and 18 months) but I’m still coming to terms with the physical effect on me – they were both 9lb+. I don’t feel at home yet in this new body and I lost faith in it (in a fairly major way) when I miscarried my second child. Seeing you be so honest and open about it is encouraging and gives me hope that I will feel at home in this skin at some point. Thank you x

    1. Post
      Author

      I’m sorry that you have struggled to have faith in your body. Dealing with the after effects of a successful pregnancy is difficult enough; I can’t even begin to imagine what a miscarriage would do to one’s confidence in their own body. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to got through that. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I, too, hope that you can feel at home in your skin again.

  18. So awesome to see you embrace your postnatal body, having a baby changes us so much!
    I never knew that having a little life creation of my own would be such an incredible challenge! The first weeks I thought I wouldn’t be able to survive!! I now feel like I have super powers!!

    Hurray for pregnancy, nursing, baby love and supportive partners!! <3

    M

  19. This is a lovely post. Firstly, well done for making some pretty nursing bras. Those things are so awful usually. Secondly, thanks for sharing your thoughts on your body. You are spot on. Let’s celebrate what our amazing bodies are capable of!!!

  20. This is just fabulous! Both the bra and your body indeed! I feel exactly the same way… also struggled quite a bit with my new body after 2 pregnancies, but I try to accept it. Only sometimes I feel it is not so easy to do that… It is truly great you do this, although it shouldn’t be great and should just be more normal!! I love the idea of this maternity bra too, although I’m not pregnant again and don’t plan to be soon :-) But maybe ‘just’ a regular bra is worth a try… This seems to be a nice starting type… thank you for the inspiration!! And last but not least, since this is the first blog I read from you: congratulations with your baby!!! :-)

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks so much! I appreciate the kind words and the congratulations. I’m sorry that you, too, have struggled to love your body – it’s clear so many of us have! I agree that the Watson bra is a great place to start if you are interested in sewing a bra for yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *